After the recitation of the Angelus Domini in St. Peter’s Square on 6 September 2015, Pope Francis made an appeal to “the parishes, religious communities, the monasteries and shrines throughout Europe to express the reality of the Gospel and accommodate a family of refugees.”
This appeal is a response to the tens of thousands of refugees currently fleeing Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan to seek asylum in Europe.
“The Gospel calls us to be a neighbour to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned,” Pope Francis explained.
He went on to remind the faithful of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which will commence on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December 2015, and will conclude on the Solemnity of Christ the King, 20 November 2016.
“Mercy of God is recognised through our works, as we witnessed through the life of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
“I turn to my brother Bishops of Europe, true shepherds, because their dioceses support this appeal of mine, remembering that Mercy is the second name of love: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40).”
Pope Francis expressed the need for Christians to do more than simply say “have courage and be patient”, saying that we must give “real hope”.
“Christian hope is combative,” he challenged.
The Vatican will be the model for this appeal, with the Pope announcing that its two parishes will take in two refugee families, as a “concrete gesture in preparation for the Holy Year of Mercy.”